The French Have Solved the Marriage Problem

Yes, they have solved it with the increasingly popular civil union, which is essentially Marriage Lite and can be dissolved “with just a registered letter.” (“Don’t make me send this registered letter.”) They even have a cute, or, actually, sort of violent yet charming name for it: “getting PACSed.” (Or, “getting PActe Civil de Solidarité’d.”)

When it was created in 1999, the PACS was originally intended for gay couples to obtain (some of) the legal benefits of marriage (gay marriage being illegal in France), but now 95% of PACSes are between straight people, who’re just PACSing each other all over the place. “We’re the generation of divorced parents,” said one recently PACSed young woman. “The notion of eternal marriage has grown obsolete.”

What the article doesn’t explain is 1) are there PACS rings? And 2) are there PACS parties? It’s hinted at — “department stores now offer PACS gift registries and travel agencies offer PACS honeymoon packages” — but remains unclear. I would want a token of some sort to display that I’d been PACSed and wasn’t some sort of disgusting loser who no one was willing to PACS.